Religious content in The Twilight Zone? The sci-fi fantasy show about time travel, homicidal dolls and aliens with hostile intent? The idea may seem absurd at first.
Yet the deeper one looks for religious messages — and Lent certainly seems like a good time to do it — the more one finds them popping up, both directly and indirectly. (Spoilers ahead, casual Zone viewers.)
For starters, consider how often we see the Devil or one of his emissaries. In “Printer’s Devil”, for example, Burgess Meredith plays a man who helps a small-town publisher on the brink of suicide achieve financial success by ferreting out scandal stories that smash the competition. He then unfurls a contract stating that only by agreeing to relinquish his soul can the publisher cement this arrangement. Read the rest of this entry
“Please allow me to introduce myself,” goes the opening line of “Sympathy for the Devil.” An introduction is especially important if you’re a Twilight Zone fan. After all, the fifth dimension is home to no fewer than four different people claiming to be the Prince of Lies.
But which Beelzebub is best? That’s up to you. Not that it’ll be an easy choice. Each performance is a solid one, making this a diabolically difficult decision. In chronological order, we have …
Thomas Gomez (“Escape Clause” — November 6, 1959)
He may be going by the name “Cadwallader,” but when his newest
sucker client says, “You’re the Devil,” Gomez’s character gives a wicked grin and replies, “At your service.” You want immortality? Just sign the dotted line, relinquish your soul … and enjoy. Read the rest of this entry
Time for a few introductions, Twilight Zone fans. Recognize these four men?
The meek one with the mustache and the Coke-bottle eyeglasses? That’s Henry Bemis. Next to him is a smiling, nervous, bow-tied vacuum-cleaner salesman named Luther Dingle. Over there, books in hand, is the unassuming but dignified Romney Wordsworth. And the man with the crooked cigar, the leering expression and the unsettling grin? Mr. Smith.
Four of the fifth dimension’s most distinct and memorable characters, each brought to life by one man: Burgess Meredith.
The legendary actor was grateful for the opportunity TZ gave him. “Rod used to have a part for me every season,” he said, “and every one of them was extraordinary.” He would go on to star in two episodes of Serling’s follow-up series, Night Gallery, livening up “The Little Black Bag” and “Finnegan’s Flight”.
But which of his TZ roles is the greatest? Let’s get a little spoiler-y and meet the candidates: Read the rest of this entry